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How to Use HTML Heading Tags Correctly

Content on websites can be structured using the HTML heading tags h1 to h6, but what are the guidelines for using these tags, and how can Ryte help you? In this article, we provide you with information and practical tips for optimizing the heading structure of your website.

What are heading tags?

Heading tags are in the source code of a html document, defining the headings of a webpage. In HTML documents, headings can be tagged with HTML tags h1 to h6 – this heading tag is used in HTML to define the headings of a page. The headings are defined by <hn>, where n is a number between 1 and 6, and determines the order and format of a heading.

Every open <h1> – tag must be closed with </h1>. The heading title is then noted in between. A tagged heading looks like this in HTML code:

<h1>This is your main heading</h1>

Every text should have a clear main heading or title (this would be the h1 tag), describing the central theme of the text, and encouraging the user to read the article. Every document should just have one h1 tag. Further subheadings are then defined with h2, h3, h4, h5 and h6. It’s not compulsory to use all 6 headings within a text.

The formatting of the headings should be stored in the CSS files to separate design and content. This means that in the layout, the signatures are displayed in different sizes, with the largest font size usually being used for the h1 header.

Why are HTML heading tags important?

HTML heading tags are important for both users and search engines. When users read a text, a good structure with paragraphs and headings help them orientate themselves. Paragraphs divide the text into smaller chunks, and headings clarify the structure of texts. Headings should tell us about the content of the following paragraph.

With a sensible heading structure, your visitors can more easily grasp the content on your web page, allowing them to quickly identify whether they are interested in the topic. The headline structure can have a positive influence on user behavior, which is reflected in a lower bounce rate and a longer average time on page. Google will then take into account these positive user signals when rating your website.

Significance for SEO

A logical heading structure on your website is an important part of OnPage optimization, and can bring many advantages:

With a coherent headline structure, you make it easier for web crawlers like Googlebot to work. Similarly to the users, the googlebot can also more easily understand the content on your website with appropriate headings.

Optimize your HTML Heading Tags with Ryte

Ryte’s report “H1 Headings” under Accessibility can support you in optimizing your html headings. With just a few clicks, you can draw significant conclusions from the individual reports to help you optimize your heading tags long term.

Just use one h1 per page

One of the main recommendations when it comes to headings is: only use one h1 heading on each page. This is the “Headline”, and should therefore be unique and contain the central keyword of the landing page. To check which URLs of your website do not contain any h1 tags, or which URLs contain too many, click on the “H1 Headings” tab under Accessibility and then look into the “H1 Count” report.

Figure 1: Analyze h1 headings with Ryte

Click on the red bar in the diagram and you will see all pages that don’t have any h1 tags.

Figure 2: Show pages without h1 tags

If you don’t use a h1 heading, you give away important SEO potential. Using your focus keyword or a combination of keywords in the main heading strengthens the keyword focus of the page, showing search engines that your web page is relevant for this keyword.

You should also have more than one h1 header. With Ryte you can check with one click which URLs of your page contain multiple h1 tags. To do this, click on “H1 Duplicates” in the “Headlines” area.

Figure 3: Show h1 duplicates

Optimizing your headline structure

Once you’ve set your h1 heading, you have already done the most important step for optimizing your html tags. On many websites, the other headline tags are often used arbitrarily. For reasons of simplicity, some web designers often use the tags for formatting font sizes, meaning that sometimes h tags are found everywhere on a page, but not where they should be, i.e. in the structure of the text.

Make it easy for search engines and users by logically using the h-tags after the h1-header in your text. H-tags don’t belong in menus or footer headings.

With the Ryte software, you can test all headlines tags up to h4.

Content of the Headings

The optimization of the headline structure is part of the OnPage optimization. However, you should also be improving the content of the headlines. The following points can help you with this:

h1: Use the main keyword of the landing age in the headline. In shops, for example, this could be the main category. In longer articles, the main keyword is usually the topic of the article. Make sure that the h1 header does not exceed one line.

The h2 headlines are well suited to secondary keywords or related keywords, or they can be used for longtail keywords or questions. H2 tags can also be used for optimizing for the Google Answer Box.

The user should be informed of the contents of the corresponding paragraph when reading the subheading.

h3 and h4: These headings should be used for less important topics. However, you can also add keywords to the main topic here. It is also recommended to use these headings as questions, as you might find in the FAQs.


Heading tags are important for users and search engines to be able to orientate themselves on your website, and for search engines, for judging the relevance of your page for a certain keyword. With Ryte, you can test and improve your headlines, and therefore strengthen the keywords of individual pages.


  • Use only one h1 header per page.

  • Write a unique h1 header.

  • Use the main keyword of your landing page in the h1 header.

  • Use h tags exclusively for formatting headings in the text.

  • Use h2 to h6 in chronologically descending order.

  • Use the h2-h6 headlines to place niche keywords, longtail keywords or questions.

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Published on Jan 22, 2018 by Eva Wagner